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Signs prohibiting bicycles are prominently posted at both ends of the block of Circuit Avenue nearest the ocean in Oak Bluffs. Circuit Avenue is one-way up the hill away from Lake Avenue, and is lined by restaurants and other small businesses. This is a very crowded part of Oak Bluffs during the summer (photo taken 1995).

9609N10B35Circuit Avenue.jpg (29615 bytes)

The traffic mix in Oak Bluffs is about as much like that in Dutch cities as you will find anywhere in Massachusetts, with pedestrians and bicyclists in approximately equal and large  numbers. The difference is that the Dutch bicyclists are used to mixing with pedestrians, and are aware of the need to ride very slowly or walk their bikes. A large percentage of people riding bicycles on Martha's Vineyard have come over for the day on the ferryboats. Many rent bicycles when they get off the boat and are riding for the first time in months or years, though they are young and strong.

I can see designating Circuit Avenue as a pedestrian zone (no cars, walk bikes), but allowing cars to drive through while prohibiting bicycles doesn't tickle me the right way. Apparently, the community feels that it can not give up the parking spaces. On the other hand, the detours around this prohibition are relatively short.

As Circuit Avenue is not a limited-access or express state highway, the prohibition on riding bicycles and mopeds here can be lawful only if Oak Bluffs has obtained a home rule petition from the Massachusetts General Court. I don't know whether the home rule petition has been obtained. The prohibition on walking bicycles through this area is something else entirely. Police forcefully instruct bicyclists to use bicycle racks at the end of the street -- one of the bike racks is visible in the lower left corner of the photo. If you haven't brought a lock for your bicycle, you are out of luck if you would like to patronize any of the businesses in the prohibited area.

I don't know what law might be able to designate bicycles as contraband. Is there any lawyer who might be able to provide an answer?